Crypto startup StarkWare just closed a $30 million equity funding round led by Paradigm and featuring a number of other major investors

StarkWare Industries today reported the completion of its $30 million A financing round. The company was founded in early 2018 by its chief scientist in the East Prof. Eli Ben Sasson and chief architect Michael Riabzev from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology computer science department, CEO  Uri Kolodny, and chief scientist in the West Prof. Alessandro Chiesa from the University of California at Berkeley. The company has 16 employees in Netanya.

StarkWare has raised $36 million to date. The current investment round was led by the Paradigm fund, founded by Coinbase founder Fred Ehrsam and former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang. Other investors in the round include Intel Capital, Sequoia USA, Atomico, Coinbase itself, DCVC, and other funds.

The financing round comes on top of a $6.7 million grant to StarkWare from Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports development of infrastructure for Ethereum’s E blockchain network.

StarkWare is developing zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technologies based on an algorithmic breakthrough in recent years by Ben Sasson, Chiesa, and Riabzev. The company says that these technologies will provide a solution to load problems and privacy in blockchain.

ZKP is the ability to prove that something exists or has taken place without exposing its content. This technology has uses in credit and money transfers. A customer looking for a loan can answer a series of questions affecting his or her credit rating. The rating summing the answers to these questions is encrypted and saved on a blockchain. The lending company will therefore be exposed to only what it needs – proof that the person can or cannot receive the loan, not the person’s entire payment history. Another use could be in money transfers: the ability to verify that a given transfer was reported to the tax authorities and received the appropriate approval. The only thing disclosed on the blockchain is that the money transfer took place and meets a series of conditions, without disclosing the amount or exactly which conditions it did or did not meet.

At least one other Israeli company is operating in this sector – QED, a startup managed and co-founded by CEO Jonathan Rouach, one of the first members of the blockchain community in Israel.

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